Award success for Duncan

Duncan Graham is the Royal Society of Chemistry Theophilus Redwood Award winner for 2016.
Duncan Graham is the Royal Society of Chemistry Theophilus Redwood Award winner for 2016.

A Chirnside-born scientist has been handed a prestigious award previously given to 47 future Nobel Prize winners.

Professor Duncan Graham is the winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry Theophilus Redwood Award this year for his work to make diagnosing certain diseases more accurate.

As research professor of chemistry and deputy head of department for pure and applied chemistry at Strathclyde University, Duncan’s research group has been working on the creation of nano-sensors that use changes in light to diagnose diseases based on specific molecular changes.

They make use of a technique called surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), which can detect specific molecules such as DNA in mixtures and can be used to diagnose medical conditions including fungal infections.

In 2007, Duncan co-founded the company D3 Technologies, now called Renishaw Diagnostics, and it developed the first Conformité Européene-marked SERS diagnostic tool.

He said: “This is a great honour and down to the amazing students and researchers who I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years and their contributions.

“Analytical chemistry research attracts researchers from many different backgrounds and the diversity of the discipline ensures there are always new and exciting research opportunities and researchers to work with, providing innovations that we hope will ultimately benefit the public.”

The award is given to a leading analytical scientist also regarded as an outstanding communicator.

Winners are evaluated for the originality and impact of their research and for recognising the importance of teamwork.

The winner receives £2000, a medal and a certificate. The award is named for a 19th century Welsh chemist.

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the society, said: “It is an honour to recognise the illustrious achievements of our prize and award winners in our 175th anniversary year.

“We were founded in 1841 by a group of academics, industrialists and doctors who understood the power of the chemical sciences to change our world for the better.

“Our winners share that vision and are advancing excellence in their fields, whether through innovative research or inspirational teaching and outreach.

“We are proud to celebrate and support the work of inspiring and influential individuals whose work has the potential to improve so many lives.”